Ryan The Religious

Ryan has a religious view of the world, which means he has a strong built-in sense of right and wrong, and strictly follows a set of standards that he believes will earn him spiritual reward here on earth and heaven when he dies. Ryan also tends to carry around an “I’m spiritually superior to you” attitude because he believes that good works are the key to religion.

Questions You Can Ask

1. What’s your spiritual background?

2. What do you believe about God?

3. What aspect of your religious beliefs brings you the most satisfaction? What makes you the most uncomfortable?

4. What do you think happens after we die?

5. Do you believe that entrance into heaven is dependent on obeying certain rules?

6. On a scale from 0-100%, how sure are you that when you die you will go to heaven?

7. Are your beliefs based on your own spiritual choices, or have them been handed down to you by your family?

8. Who do you think Jesus was?

9. Do you think there’s a difference between a “religion” and the “relationship” with God that Jesus talked about?

10. What do you think of Jesus’ claim that He was God and the way back to God?

Areas You Can Admire

  • Ryan’s commitment to going to church.
  • Ryan’s belief in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • Ryan’s belief that Jesus died on the cross and rose again.
  • Ryan’s desire to be a good person and do things that please God.

What Ryan Believes

Ryan believes that by believing in certain creeds or statements of beliefs, and by strictly engaging in certain religious behaviors, he will be on God’s ‘nice’ list, while those who aren’t religious are on God’s ‘naughty’ list. He has been raised with this since day one, which is why religion and good works are such a key part of his life. Ryan also believes that religion is a combination of faith and good works that will one day get him into heaven.

Ryan believes in God.

Ryan believes in the Trinity.

Ryan believes in Jesus.

Ryan believes the Bible is God’s word.

Ryan believes in an afterlife where there is a heaven and hell, and that which place you end up is determined by how religious you were here on earth.

Ryan believes that salvation is ‘earned’ by believing and behaving the right way. Ryan is not absolutely sure he’ll make it into heaven, but he hopes that his good deeds will outweigh his bad deeds.

What The Bible Teaches

God identified Himself as “I Am” (Exodus 20:2) – meaning He is the self-existent (never had a beginning or end) eternal Creator of the universe.

There is one God and yet three Persons (Isaiah 45:5; Deuteronomy 6:4; James 2:19).

Jesus is fully God and fully man, He is the God of the universe (John 1:1, 14, 18; 8:58; 10:30. Compare Titus 2:13 and Isaiah 45:21), and His death on the cross completely paid for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2).

The Bible alone is the word of God and is absolute truth. It is without error. It cannot and should not be added to or subtracted from (2 Timothy 3:16-4:4; Revelation 22:18-20), and it is also the ultimate authority on spiritual matters (i.e. no man-made church teachings or traditions are equal with it).

Those who trust in Christ alone as their only hope of salvation spend eternity in heaven; those who reject Christ spend an eternity in hell. (John 5:24-30; Revelation 20:11-15).

Salvation is by faith in Christ ALONE on the basis of His death on the cross. (John 3:16-17, 36; 6:29,47; Romans 4:1-5; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5) Good works are a natural result of our salvation, but they have nothing to do with our salvation.

Things to Remember

Ryan carries around a pretty strong dose of pride and self-righteousness, so focus on the 10 commandments and how all of us have broken them. One good illustration of this is to use the example of the religious person who only sinned a mere 3 times per day. While that seems good, when you add it up it becomes very bad. Three sins a day is over a thousand sins a year, and if he lives to be in his 80’s, he will have sinned over 80,000 times!

Talk about how one lie will keep us out of heaven (Revelation 21:8), so the standard for getting into heaven is absolute perfection. Deep down Ryan knows he is not perfect, so talk about how Jesus lived a perfect life, which is why he is the only one who could pay the price for our sin.

In Philippians 3:4-12, Paul goes into detail about how he once depended on his ‘religion’ to please God, but after he trusted Christ, he saw all those things as trash. If Paul saw religion in that light, what should that teach us? Also, talk about what Jesus meant when he said “it is finished” on the cross. That phrase actually means ‘paid in full’.